Somalia is often simply portrayed as being affected by war and famine. Although many challenges exist, this is not the full narrative and it takes away from the many positive and exciting initiatives that have taken root and are having a positive impact.
The Somali Response Innovation Lab (SomRIL) is an interagency partnership which seeks to create and apply effective innovations to enhance the impact of humanitarian and development interventions to improve the resilience of the Somali people. This is achieved through providing a supportive and safe environment where NGOs, local innovators, the private sector, UN agencies, government and academia can share specific challenges they face delivering humanitarian and resilience programming, and identify innovative solutions which can be prototyped, piloted, and brought to scale.
Part of the SomRIL’s work has been to research and map the Somali Innovation Ecosystem for the benefit of all actors working in Somalia and those who wish to enter into the market. This work has been very illuminating as it has shown the vibrancy of the current landscape, the connections that are possible between existing actors, and the opportunities that exist for further collaboration and innovation within the context.
Therefore, the SomRIL has curated a digital exhibit to shine a spotlight on a selection of innovations identified as part of this mapping that are creating impact in their respective fields. The initiatives profiled have been carefully selected to showcase the diversity that is flourishing in a wide range of sectors. The innovations cover a broad range; online platforms, to low-tech last mile solutions, solutions driven by the private sector in response to market demand, and innovations that aim to strengthen the learning outcomes of children in Somalia. Some of these initiatives are well established, and some are constantly iterating and adapting to stay relevant in a changing context. But what all these innovations have in common is that they are contributing towards building a brighter future for the Somali people.